15 Jul. 2019
KPDSB welcomes new Mental Health Co-Lead
Media Release - September 24, 2018
It is with great pleasure that the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) welcomes Larae Harbour as the new Mental Health Co-Lead. Harbour will join current Mental Health Lead, Candice Kerkermeier.
Harbour joins the KPDSB from Jack.org, Canada’s only national mental health organization that trains and empowers young people to promote mental health and well-being for their peers and each other. Harbour brings a wealth of knowledge in inclusive mental health practice, resource development and stakeholder engagement to the new role.
As the KPDSB enters year eight of the provincial Mental Health Initiative, the Mental Health Co-Leads will focus on implementation of the key priorities within the KPDSB Mental Health Strategy. This includes providing resources to build staff and administrator capacity to support student well-being, partnering with key stakeholders to promote a seamless transition to services and treatment and fostering an environment to lead mentally healthy schools.
“I am thrilled to be joining Keewatin-Patricia District School Board team and Candice Kerkermeier as her Mental Health Co-Lead. The KPDSB has been a leader in mental health and wellness promotion for the past seven years. The KPDSB is championing the voices of students, caregivers, staff and community members to respond to vulnerable students’ needs for care. It’s truly an honor to be a part of this work and to further build pathways to support positive mental health for all students.” – Larae Harbour, Mental Health Co-Lead
“In consideration of the growing needs of our students within the KPDSB, the addition of a Co-Mental Health Lead will allow us to expand the mental health literacy capacity for all staff and students. It is a pleasure to have Larae join our KPDSB team.” - Joan Kantola, Superintendent of Human Resources and Special Education.
Adult Education and Alternative Learning programs removing barriers for learners across the Northwest
Media Release - September 14, 2018
Adult Education and Alternative Education took centre stage at the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board’s September Board Meeting at Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout.
Sean Monteith, Director of Education for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) and Brent Tookenay, Chief Executive Officer for Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) presented the SGEI/KPDSB Adult Education Partnership report to the KPDSB Board of Trustees. The partnership officially began in 2013 following a number of years of varied programs and levels of success by the KPDSB to deliver adult education to the region’s adult learners, specifically those without an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
The development of a formal Adult Education Partnership between KPDSB and SGEI provided the opportunity to combine resources and funding, and ultimately has resulted in large increases in enrolment reaching 601 students in 2013 compared to 394 students in 2012. The partnership currently supports on average around 600 adult learners each year with 256 adult graduates from the program in the past five years.
Strategic improvement efforts by Adult Education staff and programming focuses onoffering learner-centred guidance and support services, providing experiential and culturally relevant learning experiences, and the expansion of adult education programming in communities to continue increasing the opportunities available. Removing barriers for adult learners is crucial to their success in acquiring their OSSD and staff in the adult education programs strive to find “out of the box” solutions to the unique challenges adult learners face. Please click here to view a video of recent Adult Education graduates sharing their experiences in the program.
The KPDSB also offers a variety of Alternative and Continuing Education programming, with several of the programming options also available to adult learners. Lynn McAughey, Adult Education and Alternative Learning Principal, and Tracey Bichon, Student Success & Technology Area Leader at Beaver Brae Secondary School, presented the Alternative and Continuing Education report to Trustees.
Enrolment in Alternative and Continuing Education continues to grow across the region as programming and opportunities expand. The following programs are offered through Alternative and Continuing Education:
Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) - SHSMs let students focus on a career path that matches their skills, interests and labour market trends while meeting the requirements of the OSSD. Students receive the SHSM seal on their diploma when they complete a specific bundle of eight to ten courses in the student's selected field, earn valuable industry certifications including first aid and CPR qualifications, and gain important skills on the job through cooperative education placements. The KPDSB currently offers fifteen SHSM pathways in seven sectors (business, mining, construction, environment, health and wellness, transportation and manufacturing). More than 230 students were enrolled in the programs during the 2017-2018 school year with 61 graduating with the SHSM designation and seal on their diploma.
Dual Credit Programs - Students in a dual credit program participate in apprenticeship training and postsecondary courses, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their postsecondary diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification. Dual credits engage students through exposure to college courses and culture while supporting their successful transition to postsecondary education. During the 2017-2018 school year, 215 day school students and 26 adult learners were enrolled in dual credit programming. In the 2018-2019 school year, enrolment projections indicate 366 secondary and adult learners enrolled in 24 different dual credit programs across the KPDSB.
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) – OYAP allows students to gain on-the-job training and experience in an apprenticeship in a skilled trade while earning credits towards their OSSD. Students can accumulate workplace hours that count towards both secondary school co-op credits and the requirements of an apprenticeship program.
Night School and Summer School Programs – Night School and Summer School programs are available to a variety of learners including secondary students, senior elementary students and adult education students as a pathway to success for graduation. Night School enrolment has grown from 41 students in the summer of 2017 to 214 students for the summer of 2018. Summer School enrolment has also seen growth, with 513 students participating during the summer of 2018.
Monteith stated “At the first Board meeting of the year for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, there was a deliberate theme of celebrating adult education, alternative learning programming including youth apprenticeships, and student success. Much of the information was not just exclusive to the last few months but rather the last several years, with personal stories and anecdotes. Having Seven Generations Education Institute CEO Brent Tookenay there as a key partner with the KPDSB only reinforced the synergy that can occur when organizations work together in the interests of Northern Children and Learners.”
Board of Trustees tour Sioux North High School, new childcare spaces at Sioux Mountain Public School
Media Release - September 13, 2018
Trustees met at Sioux North High School (at the former Queen Elizabeth District High School site) in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, for the first board meeting of the 2018-2019 school year.
The Board of Trustees were welcomed to Sioux Mountain Public School for a tour of new child care spaces in the school. Through funding grants from the Ministry of Education, work has been carried out at Sioux Mountain over the summer months to enhance areas of the school for the community’s youngest learners. The work included:
- Creation of a new preschool room designed for 24 students.
- Creation of a new toddler room designed for 15 students.
- Outdoor playground enhancements for all early years students.
- Relocation of existing school staff room and renovation to existing stage area.
- Enlargement of school kitchen to create shared facilities for school and child care programs.
- Renovations to existing EarlyON room.
- Parking lot enhancements and expansion.
In total, the project cost was just under $2 million. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Education through the Child Care Capital Retrofit Funding ($1.2 million) and the School Condition Improvement Grant ($850,000).
Trustees were also able to tour the new Sioux North High School building currently under construction in Sioux Lookout on the Sioux Mountain Public School site. With an expected occupancy date in late 2018 and a move to the new building for staff and students planned for early 2019, the $30 million dollar project has been years in the making and is nearing completion. The state of the art building has 513 pupil places with 23 classrooms and a building footprint of 6,003m2. Features of the building include:
- Large windows and glass features allowing for plenty of natural light and an openness throughout the building, including rooftop solar tubes that allow light into areas of the school without exterior windows.
- A large multi-purpose cafeteria/auditorium with full dramatic arts capabilities, including telescopic seating, integrated lighting, an elevated stage, and a sophisticated sound system. The cafetorium is located in an arts program cluster to allow close proximity for music program delivery, food services, visual arts and other events/activities.
- New equipment for shop classes, science labs, communication labs and food and nutrition programs
- Spaces for partners right in the new building, including Confederation College and FIREFLY. The new school is also next door to Sioux Mountain Public School, creating a community hub for education and support services.
- Tunable LED lighting throughout the building that matches the suns colour temperature changes throughout the day.
- In-floor radiant heating throughout the building (one of the most energy efficient methods of heating a facility in colder climates) which allows for displacement ventilation methods that provide constant fresh air supplies to all areas of the building.
- New landscaping, roadways and parking.
The September Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Students Building for Students: Timber Frame Outdoor Classroom’ was received by Trustees. Sioux North High School Teacher Mathew Culham, and students Mike Wilson and Aiden Carroll, shared the details of a unique partnership with Kingsway Park Public School in Thunder Bay. In November 2017, students from then Queen Elizabeth District High School travelled to Thunder Bay to build a large timber frame structure they had created following months of planning and construction. The structure serves as an outdoor classroom for the students at Kingsway. Culham, a timber framer and teacher by trade, spoke fondly of the job and the pride he felt in his students for what they were able to accomplish and give back to another school community.
Trustees heard how the project provided many benefits for the students involved, including an opportunity for authentic learning, development of transferable skills, and providing opportunities for older students to be positive role models to younger students. Next steps for Culham’s program include creating a timber-framed winterized structure at Cedar Bay Recreation Facility that would serve as both an outdoor education site for Sioux North High School’s Outdoor Education program, and a facility for northern education authorities land-based, active wellness initiatives and opportunities.
Andy Schardt, current Vice-Principal of Sioux North High School and former Principal of Sioux Mountain Public School for the 2017-2018 school year, presented the Sioux Mountain Public School – Shining a Light on Diabetes report. Sioux Mountain Public School has partnered with the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre’s (NGFC) Healthy Living Kids/Right to Play program. Sun Life Financial, a funder of Right to Play, selected the Sioux Lookout program from 100 other programs to feature in a video to raise awareness. Criteria for selecting the program to feature included quality of the program, numbers of participants and impact on students. The video, filmed in the Sioux Lookout area, showcases the work the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre has been doing in partnership with Sioux Mountain to address the gaps in Type 2 Diabetes prevention by focusing on education, awareness and the promotion of healthy and active living. To view the video, please click here.
KPDSB Board of Trustees Approve 2018-2019 Budget
Media Release - June 13, 2018
Trustees met at Savant Lake Public School in Savant Lake on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, for the final board meeting of the 2017-2018 school year.
The June Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Cultural Learning – Aboriginal Hand Drum Making’ was received by Trustees. Savant Lake Public School teacher Hope St. Hilaire and students Deja Neecan, Jaylen Fox and Hailey Belmore shared their learning process to create traditional hand drums with Trustees. With guidance from community elders and volunteers, the students learned about the process for creating their drums, from smudging and finding the perfect stick to make their drum sticks, to securing the hide and preparing an offering. Trustees appreciated having the cultural practices shared with them by the students and congratulated them on their completed hand drums.
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, presented the 2018 Employee Recognition Report. Each June, Monteith publically acknowledges all employees with 25 years of service and retirees for their achievement and contributions to education in the Northwest. The 2017-2018 school year brought with it the retirement of 31 dedicated employees and another 11 were recognized for reaching the 25 year milestone.
Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, and Kathleen O’Flaherty, Assistant Superintendent of Business, presented the 2018-2019 Budget Report. Total budget for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board for the 2018-2019 school year is $96 million which is a slight increase (4%) from the 2017-2018 school year budget. The 2018-2019 budget is in compliance with all Ministry of Education Guidelines and was passed unanimously by the Board of Trustees.
Monteith reflected on the 2017-2018 school year. “The year has been an incredibly successful one, with challenges and unavoidable setbacks at certain moments. We end the year, in strong financial shape, a growing reach into the North resulting in positive impacts and outcomes for Northern children and their families, and a burgeoning sense of pride and accomplishment. The success of the Board is nothing, if not without the strength of its people, its students and its communities. I wish all families and staff a wonderful summer.”
Job Posting - Superintendent of Indigenous Education and Reconciliation
The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is looking for a strong, dynamic individual with extensive experience in educational administration and strong innovative leadership in the area of Indigenous Education. Please click here to view the job posting.